Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647 Characters

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William Bradford

William Bradford (1590 - 1657) was a leader of the Separatist movement, one of the founders of the Mayflower Compact, and author of Of Plymouth Plantation. Bradford was also elected governor of the colony at least thirty times, serving a total of thirty-three years after the death of his predecessor, John Carver.

Bradford was the son of William Bradford and Alice Hanson. The elder Bradford died when William was a year old. The boy was sent to live with uncles and a grandfather who taught him to be a farmer. At age twelve, Bradford became a vigilant student of the Bible, a practice that would carry him throughout his life. Bradford joined the Puritans, where he met Elder William Brewster.

When Bradford received an inheritance, he used part of the money to buy a house in Leyden and to establish a mercantile. Bradford continued his studies of the...

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